As we’ve shown time and time again, cartoons might be geared towards children, but they are often filled with mature moments. We’re not just talking about adult jokes either, some animated shows and movies are insanely violent, and wether or not they’re for kids, the cartoons medium tends to draw a younger audience. This is especially true of the superhero genre. Kids love superheroes and kids love cartoons, so it makes sense that superhero cartoons attract a younger audience. However, with some superhero cartoons, censorship seems to be a bit of an issues, in the sense that there’s not enough!
Sure, some superhero cartoons these days, especially straight-to-DVD movies, tend to have PG-13 ratings, but even then things seem to go a bit too far, and who’s to say who ends up watching these cartoons when they air on TV, it can be kids or adults. Regardless, there are quite a few scenes within superhero cartoons that push the envelope, for better or worse. As usual, we here at CBR dug through some of these cartoons to find out which scenes were just a bit too much. And with that, here’s our list of the 15 scenes that should have been censored in superhero cartoons.
15. BATMAN: THE NEW ADVENTURES — ROXY ROCKET
Did you know that “The Ultimate Thrill,” an episode of Batman: The New Adventures features more sexual innuendo than any episode of any DCAU show? Now that’s an accomplishment, and it’s all thanks to Roxy Rocket, the villain of the episode. Roxy was an ex-stunt woman whose career didn’t have the same thrill it once did, so she turned to a life of crime in search of a new rush.
In the episode, Roxy’s thrill-seeking portrays her as a pleasure-loving flirt, and all her interactions with Batman are steaming with sexual tension. The, pardon the pun, climax comes at the final sequence of the episode. Roxy and Batman are both shown riding a rather phallic rocket as Roxy sensuously challenges Batman to a deadly game of chicken on the vehicle and screams “yeah, yeah YEAH!” as they approach a crash.
14. SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES — LARGE LUTHOR
Cliched billionaire bad guy that he is, Lex Luthor is hardly ever seen without a woman fawning over him. It can result in some pretty adult situations when it comes to animation, something we see in Superman: The Animated Series. The seventh episode of the show, “The Way of All Flesh,” depicts the origin of Metallo, the Kryptonite-powered cyborg.
After receiving a new metal body, John Corben finds himself unable to feel anything anymore and goes to confront Luthor about it. He follows the villain to his yacht, where he is sharing a meal with a beautiful woman. Before we see this however, we hear “It’s so big, Mr. Luthor,” from the woman before it is quickly revealed she was talking about the size of the yacht…. or was she?
13. YOUNG JUSTICE — WALLY’S MIND
Kid Flash in Young Justice was always kind of a cocky flirt, and his “smooth talking” usually got him in trouble. Though he eventually ends up with Artemis, Wally is constantly flirting with Miss Martian in the first season, which is dangerous territory, what with her telepathy and all — she can see all his dirty thoughts! And he definitely has them; he even says so in the episode “Bereft.”
After a shared case of amnesia, the team are left scattered in the desert, and Kid Flash and Artemis eventually find each other. Confused on what to do, they suddenly hear Miss Martian’s telepathic voice in their heads. When this happens, Artemis asks, “Did you just hear a girl talking in your head?” and Kid Flash replies with “Girls are always on my mind, but they’re not usually talking.” Oh really, Wally? Well then what are they doing?
12. REBOOT — PANTY SNAKE X
ReBoot was the first completely computer animated half hour TV series to ever premier, and though it might not be a traditional superhero cartoon, it had a lot of the same elements. The show had a huge following, people loved the combination of superheroes and video games. The latter actually ended up leading to a rather provocative adult joke that surprisingly made it past the censors.
In the episode “My Two Bobs,” the user uploads a video game to the mainframe, a combination of Dragonball Z and Pokemon called “Pantsu Hebi X.” As awesome as that sounds, and trust us we want to play it too, that name is actually pretty dirty. Translated from Japanese, Pantsu Hebi X means “panty snake.” Whoa there, who let that one slide?
11. STEVEN UNIVERSE — GREG’S JUNK
Another “non-traditional” superhero show is Steven Universe; it’s got a teenager developing powers, bright costumes and a magical destiny. It might not be Justice League, but Steven and the Crystal Gems’ adventures get pretty superheroic at times. And like other superhero shows, it has some adult jokes hidden in it.
Aside from the sexually charged nature of fusion, there are other adult themes and jokes in the show, including one particular moment that’s as funny as it is dirty. In the episode “Maximum Capacity,” Steven helps his dad clean out his storage unit. Steven invites Amethyst to help, an idea that Greg is not too fond of. To this, Amethyst simply states “Hey, Man, it’s cool, I’ve seen your junk before.” Who knows if that’s true in both senses of the word.
10. SONIC THE HEDGEHOG — ONE EYED SNAKE
The Saturday morning Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon is fondly remembered by fans as one of the best Sonic cartoons. It combined adventure, action and comedy, establishing its own Sonic lore that would go on to be the basis for the comics series. The cartoon followed the freedom fighters of Knothole, warriors consisting of Sonic and his friends who would fight against Eggman and his plans to roboticize the world.
Amongst the freedom fighters, Tails was the youngest, and thus was looked after by the older members. In the episode “Sonic Racer,” Bunnie is reading Tails Little Red Riding Hood. Tails says ,”That wolf is nasty, huh?” to which Bunny replies, “Nasty as a one-eyed snake.” In what world is that not a euphemism? Then again, the freedom fighters might have actually fought an anthropomorphic one-eyed snake before…
9. WONDER WOMAN (2009) — STEVE TREVOR GETS HONEST
Man, Nathan Fillion sure has done a lot of superhero voiceover work, including playing Steve Trevor in the 2009 Wonder Woman animated movie. The film was rated PG-13, so some of the more risqué scenes aren’t exactly a crime, but younger audiences without a doubt watched this movie. That said, there’s one line in the film that’s both hilarious and naughty.
When Steve Trevor is caught on Themyscira, he is interrogated by the Amazons using the lasso of truth. After revealing what he was doing there, as well as what “crap” means, Steve lets loose another “truth.” When asked what other “depraved thoughts” he’s thinking, he says, “God, your daughter’s got a great rack.” Funny part is, the lasso doesn’t seem to have been activated! Hmm…
8. JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS — THE “FLASH”
The straight-to-DVD animated movie, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is a sort of mishmash between different ideas and comics. It started as an idea for a TV movie that would bridge the gap between Justice League and Justice League Unlimited and was later reworked into an original idea.The film was about an alternate Earth Lex Luthor, a superhero in his dimension, who travels to Earth 1 to enlist the help of the Justice League to combat their Earth-2 counterparts, the Crime Syndicate.
When this Lex shows up on Earth 1, he is taken into custody and stripped of his power suit. Superman, Wonder Woman and The Flash seek to interrogate this Luthor, finding him naked in a holding cell. Quick-witted as always, The Flash comments on his nudity with “And they call me The Flash.”
7. BATMAN: YEAR ONE — BRUCE WAYNE, PLAYBOY
In 2011, Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One was adapted into an animated movie. The film and the comic both depict Batman’s first year as a vigilante, establishing his origin, rise to “fame” and how he settles into this new life. Year One also shows us just how the “Bruce Wayne” persona came about.
Though Batman is actually Bruce Wayne, he uses his civilian identity to throw people off the scent of Batman, acting like a typical rich playboy. In one scene, Detective Gordon arrives at Wayne Manor to question Bruce on his connection to Batman. Bruce puts on an elaborate act, hiring a woman to fawn over him as he answers Gordon’s questions in nothing but a robe, going so far as to spread his legs right in front of Mrs. Gordon. Of course, we don’t see anything, but it’s still quite the “show.”
6. THE FLASHPOINT PARADOX — VIOLENCE
The Flashpoint Paradox was the last in a long line of pre-reboot DC animated movies, and it was a hell of a movie to go out on. It’s full of twists and turns and violence, lots and lots of violence. Seriously, even though this movie was rated PG-13, it’s got some insanely graphic moments.
First of all, Wonder Woman seems to have an affinity for cutting off heads, decapitating both Steve Trevor and Queen Mera. Not only that, she also skewers Billy Batson with her sword! And he’s not even the only child to die, since we see the tragic death of Bruce Wayne in this alternate Earth. There are countless deaths in this film, the last one being Professor Zoom, who dies of a brain-revealing headshot!
5. BATMAN AND HARLEY QUINN — HARLEY AND DICK
Batman and Harley Quinn was both a throwback and a divergence from Batman: The Animated Series. It supposedly takes place in the DCAU but is a bit more comedy-driven than other installments in the shared universe. It follows Batman and Nightwing as they reluctantly team up with Harley Quinn to take down Poison Ivy. In the process of tracking down Ivy, the three get into some wacky shenanigans, the movie playing up the laughs the whole time.
Some of the movie’s humor was sexual in nature, and one scene in particular was more suggestive than the rest. After Nightwing tracks Harley back to her apartment, she ties him up before undressing in front of him. Nightwing gets aroused and a “private moment” (that Batman ends up walking in on) results in Harley agreeing to help the two. Seems like she might fancy Dick, eh?
4. THE INCREDIBLES — ELASTIGIRL WANTS MORE
The Incredibles is often cited as the best superhero movie of all time, and with good reason. The film combines the best elements of superhero storytelling in a fresh package that’s fun, exciting and plays a lot like a love letter to the genre. We all know the plot by now: when the superheroes are forced to retire, Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl settle down and start a family. When civilian life gets a little too boring, Mr. Incredible seeks glory and superheroics, leading a secret life that reinvigorates the hero.
Mr. Incredible’s return to superheroics doesn’t just improve his livelihood, it also seems to improve his love life with Elastigirl. As the superhero trains and gets back in shape, his wife can’t seem to get enough of him, as seen when he tries to leave for work and her arms stretch to pull him back inside.
3. BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES — “STUDYING” WITH DICK
Bruce Wayne isn’t the only womanizer in the Bat-family. Dick Grayson seems to have picked up the same flirty habits as the billionaire. In Batman: The Animated Series, Dick is depicted as a college student, appearing to spend more time in school than as Robin. Like any college student, Dick also seems more focused on his “extracurriculars” than his studies.
In the episode “House & Garden,” we once again find Dick at Gotham University, this time with a girl named Cindy. Dick invited her to his dorm because he thought it would be fun to “get together, and study, and talk, and…” trailing off without finishing the sentence. When Cindy question what that open-ended “and” means, Dick shrugs and inches closer to her .Smooth move, Robin.
2. YOUNG JUSTICE — IN THE FUN WAY
Just because it was called “Young” Justice doesn’t mean the show didn’t have some adult humor. We already showed just how adult Kid Flash could get, but Wally wasn’t the only dirty-minded hero on Young Justice. Artemis also had her own fair share of naughty thoughts, seeming to be one of the most adult members of the team despite only being 15.
In the episode “Revelation,” the team faces the Injustice League, a task that might be too big for them to handle. After a series of defeats and setbacks, Artemis is left without her bow and quiver, unarmed for a fight against Poison Ivy. Artemis responds to the situation with “I feel naked, and not in a fun way.” Whoa there, Artemis, what have you been up to?
1. SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES — STEAMING LOAD
Lobo is essentially the opposite of Superman in terms of personality — he’s rude, he’s crude and he’s an intergalactic bounty hunter with little to no morals. Perhaps that’s why his DCAU debut was on Superman: The Animated Series, since their opposite dynamic makes for some interesting storytelling. Lobo premiered in a two-part episode aptly titled “The Main Main,” in which the bounty hunter is hired to capture Superman for the Preserver.
Lobo is a strange character to show up on a kids cartoon, since he’s not exactly kid-friendly, quite the opposite in fact. Aside from his almost-swears, which had to be cut when the show aired on Toon Disney, Lobo runs with a rough crowd, as seen in his first scene. While on a bounty job, Lobo is seen taking in an alien at the “Steaming Load Tavern.” Seriously, how did that make it past the censors?
Which other scenes in superhero cartoons should have been censored? Let us know in the comments!
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